Larry Daley, the former security guard at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, is facing his biggest challenge yet. While he's used his exhibit friends coming to life at night, they are normally very well-behaved during the new sunset opening hours, but it seems something's started making them a little crazy. The magic of The Tablet of Ahkmenrah seems to be waning, putting them at risk of being still forever. Larry must find a way to restore the tablet before it's too late, and so he decides to venture to the Natural History Museum in London to find out how to fix it. There, Larry and his ancient friends face enormous snakes, dinosaur skeletons and bronze lions that are all coming to life, as well as the feisty head of security Tilly.
Following on from the discovery that New York Natural History Museum's exhibits come to life after dark, security guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is faced with a new problem. After confronting the curator, Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais), about the exhibits steadily losing consciousness, Daley and friends must travel to England to try to restore power to The Tablet of Ahkmenrah - the ancient artefact that grants life to the museum. In an adventure which spans the globe, Daley and company must meet up with new characters in an attempt to restore the magic before the figures lives end permanently.
Jason Stevens now runs a multi-billion dollar company after his wealthy grandfather left him more than just a hefty inheritance in his will. He also left him twelve 'gifts' which persuaded Jason to turn his life around and become a better, more useful, member of society. However, he still seems to have a lot of life lessons to learn as his constant prioritising of work puts a strain on his relationship with Alexia, a doctor who is determined to take a charitable trip to Haiti to work at an underdeveloped clinic there. Unfortunately, Jason misses this completely and panics when he goes home and she's nowhere to be found. He goes to the only person he can think of; Ted Hamilton, the family attorney; who decides to show Jason his grandfather's diary detailing his story of wealth, how it started from nothing and how it ended with nothing.
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Like Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, this film shows the overpowering strength of Disney and producer Joe Roth, as they once again bury a gifted filmmaker and cast in an effects extravaganza that's strong on visuals but short on story. There are glimpses of Raimi's genius here and there, most notably in his eye-catching use of 3D. And the actors manage to inject a bit of spark into their family-friendly characters. But the plot and the relentlessly simplistic tone will only please children or undemanding adults.
At least it looks amazing. And like the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz, the film opens in black and white with a Kansas-set prologue, where the womanising conman Oscar (Franco) performs as the flashy magician Oz. Chased into a hot-air balloon by an angry husband, he is engulfed by a tornado and drops into the colourful land of Oz, where people are looking for a messianic wizard named Oz to save them from the witch who murdered their king. But which witch is the wicked one? Oscar first meets the naive Theodora (Kunis), who hasn't yet decided if she'll be evil or not, then her big sister Evanora (Weisz), the steely interim ruler, and then the too-good Glinda (Williams). And even though he's not a real wizard, he might have some tricks up his sleeve that can help.
The film mixes ideas from L Frank Baum's stories with references to the iconic 1939 film, plus much more epic landscapes of Oz recreated with eye-popping digital trickery. On the other hand, the plot is formulaic and predictable, with characters who are only superficially complex and are far too obvious in the way they interact, badly underestimating the sophistication of even very young children in the audience. But the real problem is that the film is focussed on visual spectacle rather than endearing characters. The sidekicks this time are a slightly creepy-looking flying monkey (Braff) and a feisty china doll (King), both rendered with elaborate motion-capture effects that never quite seem to be there on the set with the actors.
Continue reading: Oz the Great and Powerful Review
Oscar Diggs is a magician in a circus in Kansas who has about as much moral fibre as he has accomplishments to his name; that being none whatsoever. However, all that changes when he is magically transported to the land of Oz after his hot air balloon gets caught in a ferocious storm. He is about to have his ethics and his trickery put to the test after initially seeing the colourful and sparkling new world as a way of gaining the fortune he so longs for. Things change when he meets three beautiful witches Theodora, Evanora and Glinda who doubt his so-called magical powers are genuine but do believe he could still be great and powerful like the rest of Oz believe him to be if he saved the land from the wicked witch and became the righteous man he truly ought to be.
This vibrant Disney adventure has been adapted by director Sam Raimi ('The Evil Dead', the 'Spider-Man' trilogy) and screenwriters Mitchell Kapner ('Romeo Must Die', 'The Whole Ten Yards') and David Lindsay-Abaire ('Robots', 'Inkheart', 'Rise of the Guardians'). It has been based on the 1900 novel 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' by L. Frank Baum and serves as the prequel to the 1939 movie 'The Wizard of Oz'. Due for release on March 8th 2013.
Directed by: Sam Raimi
Continue: Oz: The Great And Powerful Trailer
Oscar Diggs is an ethically-challenged circus magician who seeks fortune and recognition for his tricks and illusions. One day he and his top hat are sent away from his home of Kansas in a hot air balloon but are subsequently caught up in a destructive storm which takes them to the magical land of Oz. Oscar is in awe of the dazzling place and mysterious creatures and begins to see Oz as the path to prosperity. He soon discovers that this is not so when he meets three beautiful witches Theodora, Evanora and Glinda who rightfully doubt his competence in the field of magic despite the rest of Oz believing him to be the powerful wizard they have all been waiting for. His awe of Oz is soon diminished as he discovers troubles of huge proportions in the land and finds himself struggling to work out who is on the side of good and who is on the side of evil. He uses his expertise in the art of illusion and showmanship to become the great and honourable Wizard of Oz.
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After the death of a friend, mysterious hermit Felix Bush (Duvall) decides it's time to get low, put his affairs in order. So he hires the local undertakers (Murray and Black) to throw a funeral party before he dies. While this will help him clear the air, it also undermines the dangerous reputation that's guaranteed his privacy for so long. It also means confronting a dear old friend Mattie (Spacek) about a dark event from their past. And more importantly, making peace with himself.
Continue reading: Get Low Review
When an aging hermit by the name of Felix Bush decides to have a living funeral, most of the folks in the town were surprised by the idea. For many years rumours of devil worship, murder and other terrible crimes have circulated through the town and now, Felix wishes to tell them the truth behind his lonely existence.
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Veteran actor Bill Cobbs is at the center of this curiosity, which begins with a 74-year-old Daniel Green (Cobbs), a former doctor, singlehandedly lifting a tractor that's fallen on the leg of a boy outside his house. No one in the rural town believes it, but two medical students take an interest in the case and begin probing Green for details. The results are far from expected. Over beers at his house, Green discusses a mystical book that has taught him the secrets of strength and the snake venom he consumes. Less is spoken of the crazy woman in the attic and the mountains of butterscotch candies in the china cabinet.
Continue reading: The Final Patient Review
As part of the trend in faith-driven filmmaking (and based on an apparently very popular self-help book), The Ultimate Gift is inspirational filmmaking at its most average. The tale involves a recently deceased business tycoon (James Garner), who gives token fortunes to various family members, all of whom have been ingrate layabouts their entire lives. The exception is young grandson Jason (Drew Fuller), who's the worst of all. He gets a series of tasks from lawyer Ted (Bill Cobbs), designed to see if Jason can actually become a useful member of society and thus, worthy of his inheritance.
Continue reading: The Ultimate Gift Review
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